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Governance of Crime and Social Disorder


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.
Students will participate on a ‘first come first served’ bases, with a maximum number of 30 participants. At least 8 students must enroll for the course to take place.


The evolution in Western countries towards late modern societies led to a range of challenges in governance of crime and social disorder. Security issues became more frequent, more intrusive, more liquid and more complex. At the same time, insecurity about daily life conditions, and about crime and social disorder issues, grew.

By means of actual examples of late modern governance strategies like mosquito’s, bootcamps, mass incarceration, search- stop and frisk practices, zero-policing, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders & Control Orders, Sex Notification Acts, mandatory sentencing, gated communities, etc…this course provides insights in the theoretical assumptions behind late modern security strategies. This course offers a comparative perspective and discusses governance modes in the US, Australia and Europe will be studied, with the focus on Europe. Important scientists will be addressed who developed analytical insights in the ideologies and etiological assumptions behind late modern modes of governance (Bauman, Garland, Giddens). While public police remains one of the most important actors in tackling crime and disorder, this court reveals a comparative analysis of public policing in different countries. Four different police models will be discussed: (1) lawful policing model, (2) community policing, (3) public-private divide and the (4) military-bureaucratic police model. At least, police systems in different EU-countries will be analyzed, and a cross evaluation between models and systems will be made, with special focus on governance in urban settings (big metropolises).

Students will learn to explain governance responses on crime and social disorder as well from an etiological perspective on the causes of crime (what, origin, frequency, patterns, appearance) as from a criminal policy point of view. In order to be able to discuss governance matters in a knowledge based way, students will get acquainted with international data sources on crime, victimization and the administration of criminal justice.

Theoretical lectures will be complemented by practical exercises, role-play and presentations in smaller groups where a ‘real life’ policy environment will be created and students can illustrate their ability to convert theoretical insights from the lectures into a concrete policy setting (by for.ex. presenting an action plan, debating in parliament etc…).

Course objectives

  1. Students have advanced theoretical insights in:
  • the historical developments of etiology of crime and disorder and the actual etiological theoretical tendencies and scientific discussions.

  • plural policing, police models, police systems & steering crime & disorder in urban settings

  • Scientific international data sources on the morphology of the different layers in the penal justice system (police, public prosecutor, courts and execution), on international crime data and on international victim surveys.

  1. Students have advanced insights in the actual policy debate on the governance of crime and disorder as well in Europe as in the US and in political stated goals for problems of crime and disorder

  2. Students can apply these theoretical and policy insights (learning goals 1 and 2) by combining them and are able to detect theoretical underpinnings of actual policy goals and assumptions in the governance of crime and disorder debate (an exercise based on several concrete cases is made in class)

  3. Students will develop analytical and critical writing skills by writing an comparative individual paper on two metropolises of their choice on the aspect of plural policing and on specific policy options for tackling crime and disorder

  4. Students will be able to organize a critical and lively debate (pro’s and cons) in groups on contested and actual themes and work in groups towards an presentation (with blogs, newsflashes and a powerpoint presentation)

  5. Students are able to select relevant theoretical notions from academic literature on police and police and translate these into critical and understandable questions for guest speakers (as well for an international academic expert on police studies as for police field workers).


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

The course consists of 6 seminars and 1 tutorial with students presentations and group debate in the last lecture (7). During the lectures mandatory non-graded exercises will be organized, like analyzing and presenting actual policy measures and strategies based on policy and theoretical assumptions on the causes of crime, role-play, commenting blogs etc… Film and documentary material will be shown and discussed.

Course Load

140 hours
Hours required for lectures and presentation: 7 weeks X 3 hours/week = 21
Self-study hours: 119 hours, mandatory readings and assignments.

Assessment method

The final grade consists of two mandatory assignments:

  • Group paper (10%) and group presentation (10%) (grades equal for all group members)

  • An individual final paper on comparing policing in metropolises (80%).

Leading reference system for both papers is APA.

Compensation is possible, but at least a 5.5 has to be obtained for the individual final paper, and the weighted average of all assignments has to be at least 5.5.
If no passing grade is obtained, a retake of the individual final paper is possible.

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


Blackboard will be available 10 days before lecture 1.

Reading list

See Blackboard. The reading list will be provided in the course outline and will be available 10 days before lecture 1.
The mandatory readings are scientific articles for each lecture to be obtained by the e-library.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


E. Devroe (office Stichthage 12.55).
Office hours: Tuesday – Thursday 09-18 h